The Case for a Creator, Chapter 5 To wrap up his cosmological argument, William Lane Craig comes to a laughably specific conclusion: “A cause of space and time must be an uncaused, beginningless, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal being endowed with freedom of will and enormous power,” he said. [p.108] (He didn’t add “who is three persons in one being and who sacrificed his son for the sins of the world”, but clearly he would have gotten there if this interview… Read more

Since I wrote about the Center for Inquiry’s Blasphemy Day last week, this is a fitting followup. By participating in events like those, we demonstrate our commitment to defending the right of free speech. But we can also show that commitment in a more tangible way: by taking action on behalf of the prisoners of conscience around the world who’ve been imprisoned and punished for exercising that right. In this case, I’m speaking of Kareem Amer, an Egyptian blogger and… Read more

People in Western societies often believe that Eastern religions are more peaceful, less fundamentalist, than Judaism, Christianity or Islam have historically been. And it may well be true that the fluid, polytheistic nature of Hinduism and Buddhism makes them more tolerant, more willing to accommodate differing beliefs, than the fiercely monotheistic religions whose gods are unable to abide any competition. Nevertheless, every religion has its violent, fundamentalist wing, and Eastern religions like Hinduism are no exception. In India, the problem… Read more

Because this strategy worked so well for Elizabeth Dole, another conservative politician has decided to make a play for the bigot vote by stirring up anti-atheist prejudice against a challenger. In this case, it’s on a smaller scale: a race for city council in Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can read about it in the New Mexico Independent, a local paper. (HT: Daylight Atheism reader Brian Westley, who was also the first one to tell me about the Dole ads. He’s… Read more

(Editor’s Note: This review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site’s policy for such reviews.) If you’ve been around the atheist blogosphere, you probably know the name Christopher Hallquist, author of the blog The Uncredible Hallq (I’ve always wondered, does he get more skeptical when he gets angry?). Well, it seems he’s come into his own, because last month in the mail I got a copy of his new book, UFOs, Ghosts, and a Rising God: Debunking… Read more

I’m not generally a big user of social networking sites, but I did decide to join Atheist Nexus yesterday. If you’re there too, you can find me there and add me as a friend. Read more

I haven’t written about any new transitional fossils in a while, so it’s a great pleasure for me to mention this one: a hominid skeleton nicknamed “Ardi”, a specimen of Ardipithecus ramidus. This species was known from other fossil fragments, but Ardi is one of the oldest and most complete hominids found so far, and may give us the most insight yet into what the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees looked like. Ardi lived about 4.4 million years ago… Read more

In my last post on the religious right view of marriage, some commenters took me to task for painting with too broad a brush. In this post, I’ll consider how widely held such views are. It’s a fair point that not all conservative Christians hold views as extreme as those I criticized. Nevertheless, the views treated in that post are just one end of a spectrum that encompasses nearly the entire religious right. Almost all of them argue that men… Read more

Today is International Blasphemy Day, inaugurated as a protest against the new Irish blasphemy law, the Muslim furor over cartoons of Muhammad, and every other law or social norm intended to protect religious ideas from criticism. From the Blasphemy Day website: The last day in September is the anniversary of the original publication of Danish cartoons in 2005 depicting the prophet Muhammad’s face. Any visual depiction of Muhammad is considered a grave offence under Islamic law. …The newspapers which chose… Read more

The researchers behind the ARIS, which is the gold standard for American religious demographics, have released a new study that builds on their 2008 results with an in-depth look at one group that’s near and dear to our hearts: “American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population”. (HT: Friendly Atheist) As always, there’s plenty of interesting data here to contemplate. Although “nones” show a decided gender imbalance – 60% of them are male, while the general population is 51%… Read more

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